MTV Brand New for 2013 takes Conor Maynard, Gabrielle Aplin and Little Nikki to the Forum
Back when it was launched in 1981 MTV was all about the music, but it’s no secret that it has turned into something different in the past few years. However, in the Internet era, with the likes of YouTube taking over more and more every day, the famous television channel is still alive and kicking.
Despite consistently changing its nature, MTV keeps playing an important role (whether it is beneficial or not is not to be judged on this occasion), influencing mass culture in many aspects and being true to itself in the end.
For instance, MTV Brand New aims to seek and showcase new talents in the musical industry and, now in its sixth year, is proving to be quite a success. In order to further promote the emerging artists selected for 2013, MTV held a concert at The Forum yesterday, with performances by the upcoming Little Nikki, Gabrielle Aplin and last year’s MTV Brand New winner Conor Maynard.
The latter, who following his triumph at the contest went on to sign to a major label and release his debut album Contrast, was eagerly awaited, with the venue full of teenage fans holding signs and screaming his name. This was probably the main flaw of the event, which instead of focusing on the new discoveries ended up mostly directing its attention to a performer whose affirmation is already established.
The first artist in the line-up, Little Nikki, was rather good, although the presence of a DJ and a dancer on the stage reinforced the impression that she needs backing up, and isn’t comfortable on her own yet. The audience, principally composed of young girls, was visibly more interested in the dancer’s moves and only got excited every now and then at the DJ’s spurs.
Next up was Gabrielle Aplin, whose touching and melodic tunes were unfortunately out of context. The Wiltshire singer-songwriter, known for covering 1984 hit The Power of Love, delivered a pleasant performance but failed to impress and engage the public, whose loud chatter almost surpassed her music.
Finally, the rising star arrived on stage and all the Mayniacs (as Maynard’s supporters like to call themselves) went wild. There was an explosion of shrieks and hormones, with all the girls dancing to the more upbeat tunes and singing along to the more slow-paced ones, but always with their cameras or phones in their hands. During Pictures, even Conor took his mobile out of the pocket to snap shots of the crowd that had come to see him.
The 20-year-old new pop idol sang almost all of the songs from Contrast as well as a couple of bonus tracks, Headphones and Drowning. His well-balanced gig included catchy tunes like Take Off, more relaxed ones like his acoustic versions of Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child and Nicki Minaj’s Starships. After a brief break, noisily acclaimed by his followers, Maynard came back for an encore, concluding the concert in a frenzy with hits Can’t Say No and Turn Around.
All in all, MTV Brand New for 2013 can be proud for being able to mix different genres but should have counted less on the predictable success that comes from hosting someone like Conor Maynard, already stepping on his path towards fame.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
Watch a live acoustic performance of Starships here: